Vodafone gains German iPhone victory

In a test of German consumer laws, Vodafone has won a court injunction that will stop T-Mobile from selling Apple's iPhone on the grounds that the device is locked to the German operator's network and may be against the law.

Vodafone said that it had launched the action to force the iPhone to be available with other German cellular networks, including its own. But this move, which might lessen Vodafone's chances of future success with Apple, is being seen by local analysts as a spoiling tactic given the company's failure to win the deal to distribute and market the iPhone in Germany.

T-Mobile has responded by claiming it has spent months thoroughly testing the iPhone to ensure it worked correctly on its network. "Given the approach adopted by Vodafone, T-Mobile reserves the right to examine the option of suing for maximum damages."

However, locking the iPhone to a particular network has already been legally tested in France where local laws have forced Orange to open up the phone to other networks.

Read more:
- see this story in The Times, Financial Times and Cellular News

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